Unusual Butterflies of Trinidad and Tobago

sulphur butterfly laying flat on a yellow leaf

Sulphur butterflies like these are pretty common, all the way up into America.

Here you see it doing what it does best - pretending to be a mouldy, bug eaten leaf.   This one's even resting at a leaf-like angle, and it's landed on leaves which are about the same color as itself.

There were quite a few bats flying around as night fell in the Caroni Swamp after my trip to see the Scarlet Ibises, so that's what I thought I was looking at in the gloom when I saw two twisting and spiralling shapes in the darkness.

When I got this photo back, I realized that they were really a pair of large moths, presumably in courtship or mating.

With all of the bats around, this seems like a very dangerous activity, but I guess a moth's got to do what a moth's got to do!

moths mating in the mangroves of the Caroni Swamp

Hairstreak butterfly which looks like it has two heads

The Hairstreaks are a family of butterflies which try to escape their enemies by pretending to have two heads.

Many birds and other predators immobilize their prey by biting off its head, so that's where they attack first.   In this case, when the predator attacks what it thinks is the butterfly's head, it gives the butterfly a chance to escape.

As you can see, the false head is even bigger and looks even more headlike than the butterfly's real head.   The fake head even has fake antennae!

This is the butterfly which I got the biggest thrill from seeing, but I almost didn't get a photograph of it.   It's a Blue Transparent butterfly, named because it has large transparent panels on its wings.   I guess that the "Blue" part of the name is because the panels have a bluish tinge to them.   As you can see from this photo, the butterfly's body is clearly visible through the wings.

Blue Transparent butterfly with see-through wings

Blue Transparent butterfly with light-colored background

I almost didn't get the photo, because the main flash on my camera was broken.  In fact, I had already done 3 or 4 makeshift repairs using Super Glue (which some of you might know as Crazy Glue).   The repair would last a few hours and then break again.   This time, I forgot to bring the glue with me, so I wasn't able to do a repair.

In this case, I got the photo using the camera's own wimpy little built-in flash.   I hate using this, both because it's not very powerful, and also because it chews up the camera's batteries really quickly.

This butterfly was at the Asa Wright Nature Centre.   I saw two or three there, the guide told us that they like to be close to water.